Peace Out, Mommy Guilt

For the last 5 years, my life has been consumed by this phenomenon called “Mommy Guilt.” And I’m exhausted by it. And in the last few months, it has reared its ugly head more times than I can count. I can’t say that anything extraordinary has happened, but more of just the mundane, everyday, surviving instead of thriving, and oh yeah, that pesky little problem of worrying about my husband’s oil and gas job. So the past week, I started taking a mental tally of all the things I was feeling this overwhelming guilt about. Quite frankly, it totally shocked me when I reviewed my list, ranging from the ridiculous to genuine fears.

My Mommy Guilt Checklist ::

  • My son went three days without eating a bite of fruit.
  • My daughter hated every dinner I put in front of her.
  • I let the TV babysit my kids so I could get some work done.
  • I let the TV babysit my kids so I could have a mental breather and scroll Facebook.
  • I yelled at the top of my lungs at my kids.
  • My husband came home multiple days in a row to a pissy, yoga-pant clad wife. I’m a real peach.
  • I forgot to get treats for my kids’ special day at school, resulting in last-minute stress and dropping a fortune on overpriced cupcakes.
  • I didn’t have sex with my husband for two weeks.
  • I missed my favorite bible study two Mondays in a row because of a sick kiddo.
  • I let the kids stay up too late, resulting in total crankiness the next day. {See above for yelling.}
  • I was a terrible housewife, didn’t really clean, and let approximately 18 loads of laundry stack up.
  • I took a nap instead of folding and putting away clothes.
  • I ordered takeout sushi because I was too tired to even think about cooking.
  • I didn’t get dressed in “real” clothes for almost a week. Church was the only thing that rescued me.
  • I was late getting my daughter to dance and late picking her up.
  • I forgot to remind my son to do his homework.
  • I “made” lunchables for the kids two times in one week and didn’t even try to disguise it.
  • They had more snacks than real food.
  • I couldn’t wait for my girl’s night out so I could get away from the kids.
  • I fell behind in my work.
  • I gained a few pounds stress eating Cheetos and Easter candy.
  • I overcommitted my family for too many birthday parties, dinners out, and having friends over.
  • I went overbudget on my grocery store trip because I didn’t meal plan. Again. And maybe bought too much wine.
  • I cursed in front of the children.
  • When they asked me to play with them, I put them off with, “In just a minute. Mommy’s busy.” Multiple times.
  • I had one too many glasses of wine with friends, resulting in a lovely hangover that left me impatient and oh so lovely with the entire family.
  • I told a good friend, “No,” when I just felt like I had no strength to help with an activity.
  • I told a good friend, “Yes,” when I should have said no and my kids suffered because of it.
  • I let my son’s illness linger for 5 days before bringing him to the doctor. And of course, he really did need antibiotics.
  • I hid in my bedroom for 30 minutes and flipped on Bravo because I just.couldn’t.take.it.anymore.
  • I didn’t praise enough.
  • I praised too much, and now they will be little narcissists.
  • I threw away a huge stack of artwork from preschool. And the girl found it in the trash.
  • I skipped a trip to the park with the family to rest.
  • I nagged my husband to death.
  • I forgot to brush the twins’ teeth in the morning. Three times.
  • I rushed them in the mornings and yelled at them to get in the car. A lot.
  • I was too tired to do the night book routine, so I let them watch a show instead.
  • Etc, etc, etc.

Sister, the list could go on and on and on. Perhaps you are feeling guilty over formula feeding vs. breast feeding. Maybe you drove through Chick Fil A one too many times. Too tired to do bedtime? You threw Daddy under that bus. Y’all. Hear me. It is ENOUGH. We HAVE to reclaim our lives {and our sanity} back from the jaws of the guilt monster. I know I need to, that’s for sure. I am tired of that pit in the stomach feeling every swinging time I’ve screwed up. I am tired of worrying. I am tired of not feeling like enough. I am just, you guessed it, tired.

Here’s the thing :: Guilt can actually be looked at as a positive thing. It can be a motivating factor to get your crap straight. It can help you pay more attention to your parenting style and where you need to redirect your focus. It can help be a “conscience monitor” when we aren’t living up to our personal expectations as moms.

But that list up there? Most of it is absolutely insane to feel guilty about. And I have been punishing myself over and over and over again with a self-hatred mantra playing in the background, “You are not a good mommy.” No wonder I’ve felt terrible as of late. Sing that refrain often enough in your head, and you’ll start to believe it. And your behavior and attitudes will reflect just that. It’s sad, and more importantly, it’s not healthy.

Mommas, let’s stop beating ourselves up on the daily, or in my case, the hourly. We offer grace to everyone in our lives, from the doctor who’s running 2 hours behind to the child that once again acted disrespectfully. Why can’t we give ourselves that same gift? We deserve it. We need it. And we will be better moms because of it. So this next week, I am going to be intentional about banishing the guilt from my mind. I know I’m bound to repeat some of that list above, but instead of tossing and turning at night with replays of how bad of a mom I was, I’m going to acknowledge the mistake, forgive myself, and vow to do better next time. Then I’m going to LET IT GO. No more stewing. No more letting my mistakes consume my heart and mind. I owe it to myself. And so do you.

Besides, some days it’s just enough to know that you kept the kids and yourself alive. Who cares if they subsisted on some CFA nuggets and their diet was void of all fruit or color for that matter? Or that you totally snuck into the pantry to “borrow” from their Easter basket? Plus, yoga pants and top knots rock.

Girl, no guilt. Not anymore. Peace out. You’re not welcome here anymore.

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